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Takeaway: Friends letting you down can be an extremely hurtful experience. In this post, I'll explain how to know if you've been let down and what to do about it, which may be leaving the friendship behind altogether.

How to Handle Feeling Let Down by Friends

Making friends is hard enough, but what do you do when the people you trust let you down? It’s difficult to open up to others. But when you’re feeling let down by friends, it’s even harder to trust people. 

Opening up to people can be challenging, especially if you’ve been hurt before. Unfortunately, there are people out there who won’t always be there for you. You might end up in a friendship that is one-sided. Or maybe the relationship wasn’t what you thought it was.

So how do you handle being let down by friends? What if everyone lets you down? Can you ever be in a trusting relationship with a friend again?

While it’s hard when you’re dealing with friends who let you down, it’s important to remember that not every friend will make you feel that way. You do have friends who will be there for you. And when some of your friends aren’t, there are things you can do to handle the situation. You get to decide what the next move is after you’ve been let down.

Hi, I'm Justine Carino, a therapist in Westchester. In this post, I'll explain how to handle being let down by friends and what to do about the relationship.

What Does it Mean to be Let Down by Friends?

When you trust someone and they let you down, it can make you feel upset, sad, and disappointed. If your expectations aren’t managed, you might easily be disappointed because you don’t have realistic expectations of the friendship.

Some friends aren’t capable of giving us everything we need from them. You need to think about who your friends are, why they’re your friends, and what they can offer you. Take a close look at how the people you consider to be your friends treat you. Are they there for you? Do they make you feel good?

Here are a few ways that your friends might let you down:

  • Not being there for you when you need them
  • Not inviting you to a social gathering
  • Talking about you behind your back
  • Telling other people things you told them in confidence

Some friends are better at inviting you places than others. Others are good at talking about how they feel with you. And some friends don’t communicate what they want or expect well. That can sometimes lead you to realize that you have friends who let you down. This can happen when you thought the friendship was one way and they thought it was another.

let down by friends; group of young women holding each other walking

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your friends did to let you down. The fact that you were let down is all that matters. And what happens next is the part you can control.

Tips for How to Handle Friends Who Let You Down 

​​While there is no guidebook that will tell you exactly how to handle when your friends let you down, these tips will help direct you in the right direction.

Manage Your Emotions 

It’s ok to feel sad and disappointed when you’re feeling let down by friends.  Don’t let those feelings take over and ruin everything else for you. Try not to let your sadness and disappointment with your friends who let you down dictate how you relate to other friends.

Don’t lose trust in everyone just because you were let down by friends. Not everyone will let you down. I guarantee you have friends who care about you. They won’t hurt you by leaving you out or not being there for you. 

Communicate How You Feel 

Friendships, just like all relationships, rely on good communication. Talk openly with your friends about how they let you down and how it made you feel.

Find out what happened. Really listen to what your friends have to say. Talk about what could have happened differently and how you will all handle situations in the future.

Think About the Situation From Your Friends’ Perspective 

Once you’ve communicated with your friends, consider their point of view. Think about what might have caused them to let you down. Is there something you could have done differently?

Ask your friends what happened and learn their perspectives. Don’t blame yourself, but do think about the role you played in the situation.

feeling let down by friends; two women sitting on bed laughing with a dog

Most importantly, talk to someone about your experience. Get the perspective of someone outside the situation. Talking to a therapist is a great opportunity to work through feeling let down by friends. A therapist is a neutral person in the situation who can provide helpful feedback about what happened and how you can manage your emotions and expectations. Therapists are also trained to help you work through difficult situations and come up with strategies and coping skills to handle future letdowns. 

Decide Whether You Want to Pursue the Friendship Further 

Once you’ve felt your feelings and communicated with your friends, it’s time to decide whether you want to continue the friendships. You need to manage your expectations with your friends.

If certain friends tend to leave you out of social functions, maybe it’s time to rethink whether or not you want to remain friends with them. Think about what you will get out of the friendship and whether or not that’s something that you can handle.

What will your life be like without this friend? Will it be better or worse? How do these friends make you feel? Do they include you and are generally trustworthy?

If being let down by friends is an isolated incident, maybe you decide that you want to pursue the friendships. If your friends are constantly letting you down by excluding you or sharing things you’ve said in confidence, maybe it’s time to let those friendships go.

Therapy Can Help You Figure Out How to Handle Feeling Let Down by Friends

Still feeling unsure about how to handle situations where you’ve been let down? You don’t need to navigate it alone.

Therapy can help you make sense of dealing with feeling let down by friends. You’ll leave our sessions feeling more confident, equipped with the tools you need to fully manage situations with friends who let you down.

If you’d like to learn more about how therapy can help you learn how to cope with being let down by friends, reach out today (I help teens and young adults in the state of New York).

Meet the author

Justine Carino

Justine is a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in White Plains, NY. She helps teenagers, young adults and families struggling with anxiety, depression, family conflict and relationship issues. Justine is also the host of the podcast Thoughts From the Couch.